There is some confusion over the actual name of this Clan since, in 1799, it was changed by the Chief, Dugald MacCallum of Poltalloch, from MacCallum to Malcolm, for allegedly 'aesthetic reasons.'
Malcolm was the name of four Scottish kings and the name 'Malcolumb' is recorded in a Charter dating from 1094. The name MacCallum itself comes from the Gaelic, meaning 'Son of the Ghillie (or servant) of Callum (otherwise known as St Columba). At some stages in their history, however, the names MacCallum and Malcolm appear inter-changeable. In the reign of Charles I, for example, John Malcolm of Balbedie, Lochore and Innerneil, became Chamberlain of Fife. His son John became a Nova Scotia Baronet in 1665. Another son, Alexander, became a judge with the title Lord Lochore, and yet another son, James, fought with Viscount Dundee at the Battle of Killiekrankie in 1680. Sir John Malcolm of Burnfoot (1769-83), born near Langholm, was three times British Ambassador to Persia and in 1827 became Governor of Bombay. His brother, Admiral Sir Pultney Malcolm, was the Naval Commander at St Helena during the imprisonment there of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.